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Boosting the manager / employee relationship for ultimate employee engagement
When employees are engaged, they’ve got a lot to offer. Not only are they more productive, but Gallup has found they are also 21% more profitable and demonstrate 24%-59% less turnover. And with the cost of replacing an employee adding up to double their annual salary, there’s certainly an argument for boosting employee engagement. However, from implementing HR tools and technologies to testing the four-day working week, finding success is very much a case of trial and error.
However, unarguably, improving the relationship between employees and senior leaders is a vital step in achieving engagement. To truly achieve this, organisations must review processes, communications and the social side of the business. Crucially, they must also ensure they provide effective role models.
Turning reviews into conversations
To enhance and remove stress from the internal review experience, organisations can apply three key conversation pillars: understanding, coaching and recognising.
To understand what drives and motivates their team as individuals, managers can gain greater insight by conducting personality profiling, regular employee surveys and pulse surveys, as well as discussions to ensure employees’ mental wellbeing needs are being catered for. And by coaching their employees, managers can help their team set goals, objectives and key results (OKR).
Engaging hearts and minds
Open and honest communication is vital, and this should begin at the onboarding stage. While functional inductions are necessary, getting employee buy-in on the business’ culture and values is just as important. Setting the tone of the culture, encouraging communication and acknowledging the benefit of constructive feedback – both positive and negative – can foster a culture of trust and offer a platform for employees to suggest business improvements.
It’s fundamental that managers make employees feel valued and treat them as individuals and respect that everyone in their organisation is unique. As such, employees must be given the encouragement, support and tools they need to voice their opinions constructively. Some options include communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Q&A sessions with senior leaders and company newsletters.
By enabling connections between managers and employees, a mix of digital and face-to-face tactics can help bridge the gap between employees and managers, offering options for those who are tech-savvy as well as more traditional platforms.
In larger organisations, it’s also essential that individuals have a clear sense of purpose; showing them that their role is bigger than the day-to-day, and that they are contributing to a larger picture. Ensuring that each individual is given a thorough sense of direction will help to keep them motivated, aligned with company goals and, ultimately, more engaged.
Breaking down barriers
Taking the time to have non-work conversations with employees can help break down hierarchical barriers and engage employees. By connecting on a level that is person to person, rather than employee to employer, this will promote open communication and help leaders understand how to support their people. By sharing the challenges that managers have faced and overcome, employees can be encouraged to open up and ask for help when they need it; and similarly, leading by example when it comes to work-life balance can help demonstrate to teams that flexibility is ok. By actively displaying how they are achieving the right balance, this can promote a healthy culture in which employees feel empowered to do the same.
Nothing bridges the gap between leaders and employees like a social event. These have the power to bring entire businesses together, forging stronger connections between employees and their leaders. These occasions often help to further break down hierarchy as they bring employees at every level together to celebrate success – both as a company, and as individuals.
It’s clear that employee engagement is key to business success. As such, achieving this through a focus on improving the employer-manager relationship must become a priority for businesses of all sizes. Using the people management strategies and tools available, organisations can forge stronger, more open relationships between employees and senior leaders; helping the latter identify areas of improvement, and allowing them to put measures in place to enhance the employee experience. As employee engagement increases, they will become more productive, more enthusiastic and more invested – not only in their own future within the business, but also in the business’ future itself.
Cerys Johnson, CEO